Ozone layer depletion: Cause, effects, and solutions

On World Ozone Day, have a look at the various causes, effects and solutions of ozone layer depletion

Ozone layer

Ozone layer

BS Web Team New Delhi
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World Ozone Day is observed on September 16 every year to spread awareness among people about the depletion of Ozone Layer. This year the slogan for World Ozone Day is 'Ozone For Life'.

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The Ozone layer reduces harmful UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface. The Ozone layer is present in Earth’s atmosphere (15-35km above Earth) in the lower portion of the stratosphere and has relatively high concentrations of ozone (O3). Ozone layer depletion is the gradual thinning of the earth’s ozone layer present in the upper atmosphere. Ozone depletion also consists of a much larger springtime decrease in stratospheric ozone around Earth's polar regions, which is referred to as the ozone hole.

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The main cause of ozone depletion and the ozone hole is manufactured chemicals, especially manufactured halocarbon refrigerants, solvents, propellants, and foam- blowing agents (chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), HCFCs, halons). Since the early 1970's, scientists observed reduction in stratospheric ozone and it was found more prominent in Polar Regions. ODS substances have a lifetime of about 100 years.

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The depletion of the ozone layer has harmful effects on the human health, animals, environment and marine life.

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Montreal Protocol was proposed in 1987 to unite the world to cut out production and import of ozone-depleting substances. The Montreal Protocol phases down the consumption and production of the different ozone depleting substances (ODS) in a step-wise manner, with different timetables for developed and developing countries. Every individual should also take steps to prevent the depletion of the ozone layer. One should avoid using pesticides and shift to natural methods to get rid of pests instead of using chemicals. The vehicles emit a large amount of greenhouse gases that lead to global warming as well as ozone depletion. Therefore, the use of vehicles should be minimized as much as possible. Most of the cleaning products have chemicals that affect the ozone layer. We should substitut that with eco-friendly products. Maintain air conditioners, as their malfunctions cause CFC to escape into the atmosphere.

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First Published: Sep 16 2020 | 7:08 PM IST

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